The third of the Four Agreements is very difficult to master. It requires that you don’t make assumptions when communicating and interacting with others. The fact is that most people operate on a very assumptive level. We assume all the time. I remember a friend once said – and I’m sure she was quoting someone else – that when you ASSUME, you make an “ASS” out of “U” and “ME”. I’ve found that statement to be rather profound.
What does it mean to make assumptions?
Making assumptions occurs when you infer meaning by what someone else says or does or even how they ‘are’. It’s a judgmental stance in many ways. It doesn’t come from a place of authenticity. Do you know how many times our judgments and assumptions are wrong? More often than not, to be honest. The truth is that we do not really ever know what’s going on in someone’s head. We don’t know what’s showing up for them in the moment or in their life. We are NOT in that other person’s shoes no matter how empathetic we think we are.
When you make an assumption, you are not in reality. Even if you’re right, you’re still not aligned with your highest self. You are jumping to conclusions which can be very dangerous for yourself or any relationship you have.
So, what do you do instead?
Communicate clearly. Tell the person what you’re thinking in a tactful and diplomatic manner. Check your assumption. Let them know that you’re feeling a certain way and allow them to tell you what their reality is. Really listen to their response and TAKE THEM AT FACE VALUE. If you can’t trust a person, then you shouldn’t be in relationship with them no matter whether it’s business or personal. It’s really that simple. Ask questions. If you don’t understand something someone said, don’t assume their intent or meaning, get the facts. It’s always better to be in truth than out of it.
How can you apply the Third Agreement to your life?
The Third Agreement – Don’t Make Assumptions – is one you should probably make a priority. It will help clear up any communication difficulties you have with people. You can apply it by asking questions and stating what you want clearly. I know that it can be hard to ask for what you want, especially if you’re not sure what it is you want. So, get clear on what you want out of your communications before you have them. It requires a little thought and effort, but it’s well worth it.
If you can learn how not to make assumptions, you will feel much better and have better relationships in your personal and professional life. Good luck!